Monthly Archives: June 2014

REWIND: Four Guys In Disguise… Wonder Who?

I hear these guys change with the Seasons...

I hear these guys change with the Seasons…


You’ve probably seen the advertisements for the Clint Eastwood directed Jersey Boys film, which opens in movie theaters  today. It’s based on the successful musical of the same name and tells the story of pop quartet The Four Seasons, their run of hits and the troubles within the band. Now, being that Frankie Valli and his group were so iconic and certainly left a number of musical memories, I guess I could’ve picked anything to highlight in their decades long career. However, it’s one from deep into their chart success that may be the most intriguing and probably one of the strangest cases in chart history, a two-horse race that will have you seeing doubling. Wonder who’s causing some trouble here?

By 1964, the group had made the jump from Vee-Jay Records to Phillips after their former label was dealt several financial issues, though both labels managed to chart top 40 singles by the act during that year. Luckily, those released on their new home were significantly larger, including the #1 hit “Rag Doll”, which spent two weeks at the top in July. In the months after this, an executive from Phillips heard a recording that Valli and the boys had made two years prior for what was supposed to be an album to fulfill their contract with Vee-Jay, specifically built around various songs of Bob Dylan. The effort was not released, but a song from it, meant as a joke, ended up as one of “The Four Seasons” bigger hits of 1965.

“Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Alright”, originally recorded for The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan in 1963, was issued in that fall as just “Don’t Think Twice” for The Wonder Who?, a name created by the label as they couldn’t credit the quartet or even Valli himself. Given the much higher falsetto performance by the singer, it sounded different enough to be a “new act”, yet recognizable to those who could figure out the mystery. After all, both it and “Let’s Hang On”, the current single at the time by The Four Seasons, were on the same label (Phillips) and produced by the same man, Bob Crewe.


While “Hang” made its debut in October after two failed single, “Twice” did not enter the Hot 100 until early November and at lowly #90, while the former song was solidly headed into the top ten. However, by Thanksgiving (and the chart dated on the 27th of the month), “Twice” took several leaps up and landed at #32, making the group the first act in history to achieve two different top 40 singles consecutively under two different names. On the Christmas chart of 1965, “Hang” and “Twice” made their closest pass to one another; the former was holding steady at #4, while the latter peaked at #12, increasing that record to the top 20. Both began falling the next week, but not before they solidified their entry in a pretty interesting piece of chart trivia that’s not often remembered.

In the years to come, The Four Seasons had several other hits for Phillips before fading until the mid-70’s, during which Frankie Valli scored several hits on Private Stock, while The Four Seasons signed to Curb/Warner and also launched a comeback with 1975’s “Who Loves You” and 1976’s “December 1963 (Oh, What A Night)”, which topped the Hot 100 that March for three weeks. Meanwhile, The Wonder Who? didn’t have to wonder much longer; after their sole top 40 entry, three additional singles reached the Hot 100 but stalled out far below. Much like the official revelation of their identity, it was no real surprise that the singles didn’t stand a chance.

For more on those four Jersey Boys and their rise to stardomcheck out the new movie and/or download one of their hits collections via iTunes. You’ll be beggin’ for more.

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TURN IT UP TUESDAY: What’s New In Stores This Week (June 17)

A "Brooklyn Baby" rocks the cradle towards the top.

A “Brooklyn Baby” rocks the cradle towards the top.

They’re calling it a mini-Super Tuesday, although if the results are right, it may be an Ultratuesday once all is said and done. Here’s what albums and singles are in stores for the week of June 17:

  • Lana Del Rey makes her highly anticipated return with Ultraviolence, her first full-length set since 2012. The first single from it, “West Coast”, is enjoying play at both the AAA and Alternative formats. She may be a polarizing figure in the music world, but she’s got a big fan base to lead her to #1. Will it happen for the 27-year-old singer? Industry sources seem to think she’s got it and I believe them. Stay tuned to see! (iTunes)
  • Released several weeks ago in the U.K. to massive success, the debut effort from singer Sam Smith is now out in the States, In The Lonely Hour. The U.S. leadoff “Stay With Me” has become a global smash, and the singer was also featured on top singles from Disclosure and Naughty Boy. It could be the surprise of the week, but it also may have to settle for #2. Still, the GRAMMY buzz is immense already. (iTunes)
  • The once Alternative heavyweights Linkin Park have been limping to some paltry peaks at the format lately, and a harder sound on The Hunting Party may have something to do with it. Both “Guilty All The Same” and “Until It’s Gone” have charted, with the former topping the Active Rock survey. This should hit six figures and be safely in the top 3, but #1 won’t be theirs this time around. (iTunes)
  • Papis around the globe are feeling the luh from Jennifer Lopez and her latest effort, A.K.A., featuring the new CHR radio hit “First Love”. Lopez’s first week sales are still on the decline, but a top ten opening is relatively possible with this album so long as it attracts a crowd. Just don’t expect it to have legs unless something major happens. (iTunes)
  • DJ and producer Joel Zimmerman, who performs under the stage name deadmau5, is out with while(1<2), referring  to a piece of programming code meaning “to loop indefinitely”. In 2012, he cracked the top ten on the Billboard 200 with > album title goes here <. His new set should find a place there as well… though not indefinitely. (iTunes)
  • Other releases out this week include: Clean Bandit‘s New Eyes (iTunes), David Gray‘s Mutineers (iTunes), Mary J. Blige‘s soundtrack to Think Like A Man Too (iTunes), Tiesto‘s A Town Called Paradise (iTunes), Willie Nelson‘s Band Of Brothers (iTunes) and a various artists effort, Playing For Change 3: Songs Around The World (iTunes).

New digital-only singles that you can buy this week include:

  • “3 Things”, this week’s album cut from Jason Mraz‘s forthcoming Yes! album. (iTunes)
  • “Afire Love”, “Bloodstream”, etc., several digital tracks being released from Ed Sheeran‘s X album. (iTunes)
  • “Maps”, the leadoff single from V for pop/rockers Maroon 5. (iTunes)
  • “My Hurricane”, fresh from former Graffiti6 singer and now soloist Jamie Scott. (iTunes)
  • “No Mediocre”, a collaboration between T.I. and Iggy Azalea. (iTunes)

Next week, it’s all about a potent pop punch from singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran — how will X do against rapper G-Eazy and heavy metal rockers Mastodon? A full preview is coming in seven!

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The Countdown Continues… A Tribute To Casey Kasem and AT40

Sky high on Heaven's hit list.

High on Heaven’s hit list.

The art of storytelling: it’s a rare skill that many have tried to master for centuries. In a world of bold headlines and instant gratification rather than in-depth reporting and delayed reactions, anybody can be a “storyteller”, but a genuine one is hard to find. I, myself, have tried to do the best I can with my blog to be the storyteller rather than give into an easy fix. It can be challenging. However, through it all, there’s been one inspiration that I could trust in, one that ensured that I work hard and let my chart geek flag fly. That man was Casey Kasem.

In the early morning of June 15, Kasem passed away at the age of 82. I first became familiar with him at age 9 when I heard American Top 40 for the first time on Kiss 108 (WXKS-FM) in Boston, MA. It was May 16, 1999 – I remember the date very clearly because my father and I were going to meet my grandparents at a museum exhibit in the city, and with a turn of the dial, there I was listening to the countdown. It was halfway through “We Like To Party” by The Vengaboys, which ranked at #28 that week, followed by “Almost Doesn’t Count” by Brandy at #27.

I was fascinated by it, and every Sunday morning around 7:30 (Kiss always started the airing early) I was glued to my black boombox radio, feverishly writing down the top 40 songs that week. By then, I was already familiar with TV music surveys like Total Request Live, but American Top 40 was a different experience. It was a privilege to have the resources and time to listen to it: the songs, the stories and the Long Distance Dedications. It was a turning point in my relationship with music and writing about it. I didn’t choose music; music chose me.

Several months after first listening to Casey Kasem, I started a weekly top 40 of my own, and  I’ve kept it up to this day. I began to find other affiliates that played the show, like 92 PRO FM out of Providence, RI. In the summer of 2001, it was the end credits of the program that led me to discover what Radio & Records was. I learned what a recurrent rule was, a bullet, an adds date, etc. By age 11, I was way too savvy about what was going on in the world of popular music. However, Kasem and AT40 fostered that willingness to learn in me. Most of all, he was always a friend in my head who would be there for me on Sundays during my highest highs and lowest lows.

As I grew to find more about the charts online, my weekly listening declined. Of course, when Kasem left the mic on AT40 in January 2004, I tuned into the last few shows. Still, I tried to catch his AC and Hot AC programs (American Top 10 and American Top 20, respectively) from time and time, and I would also listen to a series of top 40 countdowns from the 80’s broadcast on WMMX-FM in Dayton, OH from a (then) cancelled Flashback program. The success of these repeats not only gave me an opportunity to revisit the music of that time, but it encouraged Premiere Radio Networks to reinvest in both AT40 – The 70’s and AT40 – The 80’s to be picked up on dozens of stations around the U.S. beginning in 2007.

The weekend of July 4-5, 2009 marked Kasem’s last time presenting a current program on both AT10 and AT20. Should you find yourself listening to that last episode, I was quite humbled to be a part of it. That was my Long Distance Dedication for Andrew Gold‘s “Thank You For Being A Friend” that aired, along with a letter thanking him for his time hosting. Years  had passed since our first encounter, but I never forgot where I was on that May day. I must have listened to every stream I could find playing that very last show.

A few of us were lucky to run the board or load the files for one of Kasem’s programs. For me, it was about a year’s worth of American Top 40 – The 70’s shows on a former affiliate here. It wasn’t the same as airing a fresh copy of AT40 on vinyl or CD, but I always cherished that time and knowing that I had a part in continuing his legacy. To some, it was work; for me, it was an honor. It completed the circle for me and perhaps gave me a little peace with what was about to come today.

The death of Casey Kasem is obviously a very sad one for everyone in the charts community, whether a casual listener or a diehard fan. Many of us are listening to old countdowns of his or watching clips of him on YouTube. However, listening to American Top 40 on the weekend was just as much about Kasem’s delivery and the music as it was about finding ourselves. Without the experience that I had, my top 40 chart, blog… I mean, my interest in music and the industry never would have developed into what its become. My passion for writing about “(word)” in x amount of song titles or (act) from y amount of countries was directly impacted by what I heard on those broadcasts. I’m fortunate enough to have a few hundred shows in my collection to relive the memories. It’s part of what keeps me and my interests going.

It’s truly the end of an era, but for the children of countdown generation, it was one that was worthwhile. My thoughts are with his family members at this time. They no longer have to worry about the pain and suffering he endured. After reaching for the stars for decades, he’s finally made it up there. We’ll miss you, Casey. Your story’s safe with us.

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Highlights from Adam’s Top 40: June 15, 2014

Spread the word -- they're on top of the World.

Mega hits call for megaphones.

40. The Madden Brothers – We Are Done
39. Train – Angel In Blue Jeans
38. Charli XCX – Boom Clap | HIGHEST DEBUT

34. Jess Glynne – Right Here (40) | BIGGEST MOVER
27. Milky Chance – Stolen Dance (32)
25. American Authors – Believer (30)
15. Christina Perri – Burning Gold (20)

10. Andy Grammer – Back Home (11) | PEAK: #10
09. SecondCity – I Wanna Feel (08) | PEAK: #08
08. Coldplay – A Sky Full Of Stars (09) | PEAK: #08
07. Rixton – Me And My Broken Heart (04) | PEAK: #02
06. Foster The People – Best Friend (06) | PEAK: #06
05. Graffiti6 – The Bridge (07) | PEAK: #05
04. Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne – Rather Be (05) | PEAK: #04
03. Passenger – Scare Away The Dark (03) | PEAK: #03
02. Ed Sheeran – Sing (02) | PEAK: #02
01. A Great Big World – Already Home (01) | PEAK: #01 for six weeks

Top 10 Next In Line:
1. George Ezra – Budapest (1)
2. Kiesza – Hideaway (2)
3. The Griswolds – Beware The Dog (8)
4. Stu Larsen – Thirteen Sad Farewells (4)
5. Jason Mraz – Love Someone (5)
6. Hudson Taylor – Battles (3)
7. Emerson Hart – Hurricane (9)
8. Jacquie Lee – Broken Ones (6)
9. Lady Antebellum – Bartender (7)
10. The Vamps featuring Demi Lovato – Somebody To You (-)

In The Mix:
Alex Clare – War Rages On
Betty Who – Somebody Loves You (new)
Birdy – Tee Shirt (new)
Colbie Caillat – Try
Ferreck Dawn & Redondo – Love Too Deep
Grouplove – I’m With You
Janelle Monáe – Heroes
John Mayer – XO
Kaiser Chiefs – Meanwhile Up In Heaven
Kim Churchill – Window To The Sky
La Roux – Uptight Downtown
Leon Else – River Full Of Liquor (new)
Marc Broussard – Hurricane Heart
Matt Nathanson featuring Lolo – Headphones (new)
Neon Trees – Text Me In The Morning
Paloma Faith – Only Love Can Hurt Like This
Sara Bareilles – Chasing The Sun
Twin Atlantic – Heart And Soul

Chart Notes:

  • Up from 40-34, Jess Glynne takes this week’s Biggest Mover with “Right Here”, out in the U.K. next month. The song was produced by duo Gorgon City; their new release, “Here For You”, looks to be a top seller over there as it debuts this week. Glynne also appears on this week’s #4 song, “Rather Be”, with the act Clean Bandit. You can see that song performed live on the TODAY Show on Thursday, the 19th.
  • This week’s Highest Debut is already a top ten sales hit on iTunes thanks to the popular soundtrack from the movie The Fault In Our Stars. Charli XCX goes for a fancy frolic into the countdown at #38 with “Boom Clap”, her first song to reach my top 40. The 22-year-old performer is originally from the town of Stevenage, England and should be out with a new studio album later this year.
  • Racking up their 18th single to enter my chart, the shrinking Train, now down to a duo, debuts at #39 with “Angel In Blue Jeans”. It’s the first single from their forthcoming album Bulletproof Picasso, released on September 16. By the way, the first top 40 hit about blue jeans goes way back to 1962, when Jimmy Clanton rose to #7 on the Hot 100 that September with “Venus In Blue Jeans”.
  • Lastly, at #40, is a debut from The Madden Brothers titled “We Are Done”. Benji and Joel previously charted as two members of Good Charlotte, best known for “Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous”, which spent four weeks at #1 on my chart in 2003. The duo’s first album on their own, Greetings From California…, hits stores on October 7.

(See my full chart on the M4BCC message board)

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The Vault In Our Stars: Radio Flips For The Feels

Between the book, the movie and the music, The Fault In Our Stars is one of the hottest things to shine in the national spotlight this year. Unsurprisingly, hardcover and paperbook versions of the 2012 novel soared back into the top ten on several leading sites as the film just opened to a $48 million weekend at the box office. (That total now stands at $66 million domestically.) A soundtrack, released on Atlantic Records several weeks before the picture hit, debuted in the top ten and is now looking at a solid jump into the top 5 on next week’s Billboard 200 as it passes 100,000 copies sold.

If you need a cure for the feels, I’m afraid it’s not coming anytime soon as these tunes invade your local station playlists. All I can say is to have a tissue at the ready, you might need it. Here’s all you need to know about where you can find the stars and their vault on our charts:


BIRDY – “Tee Shirt”
Format: Hot AC radio

One cut on a major motion picture soundtrack is pretty exciting for anyone, but having three songs break the tracklisting is absolutely outstanding. At only 18 years old, it’s a huge achievement for this singer, who also saw her album Fire Within debut in the top 30 on the Billboard 200 chart recently. Thus far, “Not About Angels” is the biggest of them when strictly looking at purchases, but its “Shirt” that’s been selected as a single and was formally serviced late this week. With a bright and light arrangement, it seemingly has more potential than “Skinny Love”, a Gold single despite two failed radio pushes.

Charli XCX

CHARLI XCX – “Boom Clap”
Format: CHR radio / Adds Date: June 17

2014 has been a wonderful year for this English singer: she’s on the hook and middle 8 of the #1 song in the U.S., “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea, and now she’s all over the top ten on iTunes with this great song. Capturing a musical blend of artists like Aimee Mann and Sophie B. Hawkins, “Boom” recently debuted at #62 on the Hot 100 and will likely enter the top 40 within the next few weeks or so. With so much attention pointed her way, there’s no doubt that this single will continue to sell the soundtrack through the summer and prepare her for an even bigger audience for a new studio album, due this fall.

Ed Sheeran

ED SHEERAN – “All Of The Stars”
Format: Hot AC radio (?)

With a new album out on June 23 and several digital singles making it onto iTunes in the next few days, “Stars” likely won’t see a formal radio release. However, it is worth noting that SiriusXM’s The Pulse has spun the song several times in the last few days. (The station currently doesn’t have “Sing” in rotation as its too poppy for their overall feel.) It was one of the top sellers from the set until it became an exclusive when you purchase the full album, but with millions of views on YouTube and millions more people hearing it as the ending theme of the film in theaters, there’s definitely still a strong appeal for it.


KODALINE – “All I Want”
Format: AAA and Hot AC radio

From their RCA Records release In A Perfect World, “Want” has been at radio for some time now after the band played on an episode of American Idol this past spring. However, its inclusion on this multi-act album has boosted its sales back into the 100’s on iTunes as the single maintains its snail’s pace gains inside the Hot AC top 40. Not so perfect, huh? Couple that with the fact that its the five minute album version on here (rather than the radio edit just under four minutes) and you’re going to find that this might dive off the radar in a few weeks. No one said the luck of the Irish comes through every time.

Of course, there are plenty of other songs in the collection that haven’t been mentioned in this post. Is there one you think is worthy of being a single down the line should the set’s brisk sales continue? You can let me know what you think about these records on the range by commenting below or click the “Get Social!” tab to find PGTC on social media.

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TURN IT UP TUESDAY: What’s New In Stores This Week (June 10)

Are we in for a Whiteout at #1?

Are we in for a Whiteout at #1?

In this second week of June, we have a number of acts who are rocking away with the release schedule, though some are quite softer than others. Here’s what albums and singles are in stores for the week of June 10:

  • Jack White recently scored his latest top ten on the Alternative chart with the title track from Lazaretto, which is out in stores this week. It’s his second solo outing after 2012’s Blunderbuss, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and was eventually certified Gold. This should make him two for two. (iTunes)
  • Already charting well in several European territories, the new album from singer/songwriter Passenger is now out, titled Whispers. The international single from the effort is “Heart’s On Fire”, while “Scare Away The Dark” leads the set in North America. Look for it to garner some solid numbers next week. (iTunes) (Read my review of Whispers)
  • Spreading some “Peace” on the AAA and Hot AC surveys, the Maryland band O.A.R. release their latest album, The Rockville LP, which is the act’s first for Vanguard Records. Their last two albums managed top 20 peaks, but this one could be a little bit lower given the single’s lukewarm response so far. (iTunes)
  • After decades of hit albums with The Pretenders, Chrissie Hynde is striking with her own effort called Stockholm. A single from it, “Dark Sunglasses”, is currently doing moderately well at AAA radio. (iTunes)
  • Other releases out this week include: Colbie Caillat‘s Gypsy Heart (EP) (iTunes), First Aid Kit‘s Stay Gold (iTunes), Hellyeah‘s Blood For Blood (iTunes), Say Anything‘s Hebrews (iTunes), The Whos Quadrophenia – Live In London (iTunes) and the original Broadway soundtrack to Bullets Over Broadway (iTunes).

New digital-only singles that you can buy this week include:

  • “Back To The Earth”, another album track from Jason Mraz‘s forthcoming Yes! album. (iTunes)
  • “Brooklyn Baby”, a digital track from Lana Del Rey. (iTunes)
  • “Final Masquerade”, the latest digital single from Linkin Park. (iTunes)
  • “Hangover”, a collaboration between PSY and Snoop Dogg. (iTunes)
  • “This Is How We Roll”, a remix of Florida Georgia Line‘s recent Country hit with Jason Derulo. (iTunes)

Lana Del Rey, Linkin Park and Sam Smith lead a huge pack of releases for next week, but which will claw its way to the top of the charts? A full preview is coming on Tuesday!

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Highlights from Adam’s Top 40: June 8, 2014

Spread the word -- they're on top of the World.

Spread the word — they’re on top of the World.

40. Jess Glynne – Right Here
39. Us The Duo – No Matter Where You Are | HIGHEST DEBUT

33. Young Rising Sons – High (40) | BIGGEST MOVER
30. American Authors – Believer (35)
22. Jamie Scott – My Hurricane (28)
09. Coldplay – A Sky Full Of Stars (14)

10. Bleachers – I Wanna Get Better (08) | PEAK: #01 for one week
09. Coldplay – A Sky Full Of Stars (14) | PEAK: #09
08. SecondCity – I Wanna Feel (10) | PEAK: #08
07. Graffiti6 – The Bridge (07) | PEAK: #07
06. Foster The People – Best Friend (06) | PEAK: #06
05. Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne – Rather Be (05) | PEAK: #05
04. Rixton – Me And My Broken Heart (02) | PEAK: #02
03. Passenger – Scare Away The Dark (04) | PEAK: #03
02. Ed Sheeran – Sing (03) | PEAK: #02
01. A Great Big World – Already Home (01) | PEAK: #01 for five weeks

Top 10 Next In Line:
1. George Ezra – Budapest (4)
2. Kiesza – Hideaway (2)
3. Hudson Taylor – Battles (3)
4. Stu Larsen – Thirteen Sad Farewells (6)
5. Jason Mraz – Love Someone (7)
6. Jacquie Lee – Broken Ones (9)
7. Lady Antebellum – Bartender (8)
8. The Griswolds – Beware The Dog (-)
9. Emerson Hart – Hurricane (-)
10. The Madden Brothers – We Are Done (-)

In The Mix:
Alex Clare – War Rages On
Charli XCX – Boom Clap (new)
Clean Bandit featuring Sharna Bass – Extraordinary
Colbie Caillat – Try
Ferreck Dawn & Redondo – Love Too Deep (new)
Grouplove – I’m With You (new)
James Blunt – Postcards
Janelle Monáe – Heroes
John Mayer – XO
Kaiser Chiefs – Meanwhile Up In Heaven (new)
Kim Churchill – Window To The Sky
La Roux – Uptight Downtown
Marc Broussard – Hurricane Heart
Neon Trees – Text Me In The Morning
Paloma Faith – Only Love Can Hurt Like This
Sara Bareilles – Chasing The Sun
The Vamps featuring Demi Lovato – Somebody To You (new)
Twin Atlantic – Heart And Soul

Chart Notes:

  • A Great Big World continue their hold at the chart’s summit with “Already Home”, now in its fifth frame there. It’s taken from their first-length album, Is There Anybody Out There?,  which debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200 earlier this year. “Home” is the longest-running #1 song by a duo (outside of a duet between two solo performers) on my chart since 2003, when the brother-sister act Boomkat spent six weeks at the top with “The Wreckoning”.
  • Advancing from 14-9, “A Sky Full Of Stars” becomes the tenth top ten hit on my list for Coldplay and the second to reach the region from their recent #1 album Ghost Stories. Of those ten, five have reached the top, including “Magic” from earlier this year. Can “Sky” become their sixth song to pull off the trick? Stay tuned!
  • The week’s Biggest Mover is from the New Jersey quartet Young Rising Sons; last week, they debuted at #40, and now they’re up seven to #33 with “High”. The song is a top 5 airplay hit on SiriusXM’s Alt Nation and also featured in an advertisement for NBC’s summer programming. Only one other single simply titled “High” went for a climb up my chart. That song, a totally different composition by James Blunt, peaked at #3 in 2006.
  • They made a name for themselves on Vine (and YouTube) and now the married duo who call their act Us The Duo lands this week’s Highest Debut at #39 with “No Matter Where You Are”. It goes to Hot AC radio later this month. It’s also the title track from their second album, available now digitally and due for a physical release on June 16.
  • Also debuting this week is a solo cut from Jess Glynne, who currently ranks in the top five as a featured vocalist on Clean Bandit‘s “Rather Be”. Now out on her own, she enters with “Right Here” at #40. It’s released in the U.K. on July 13 and is expected to be another big hit for the 24-year-old singer from London.

(See my full chart on the M4BCC message board)

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